b'Aerospace & Defense | Engineer InnovationRise of the V-Bat Drone maker, Martin UAV, uses Simcenter solutions to increase hover thrust and decrease cruise power Rise of the V-BAT The UAV of the future is here (and itsThe V-BAT can take off vertically from Somewhere in a field in Plano, Texas thein a box) anywhere and can land repeatedly, future of military surveillance andThe V-BAT is currently in a race toprecisely and autonomously in an area reconnaissance sits inconspicuously inreplace the venerable Shadow, theeight feet-by-eight feet from hovering the back of a pickup truck. Its an oddArmys aptly named workhorse droneseveral hundred feet above. It canplace to spot the next generation ofsince 2004. As part of the U.S. Armyseven land in the back of a moving tactical unmanned aerial systems (UAS)modernization efforts, the Futurepickup truck. for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps andVertical Lift (FVL) team is seeking a U.S. Navy. Then again, this is a uniquereplacement for the long-standingThe Army wants improved range, and drone. This is the V-BAT, the worlds firstShadow. What the Army is looking for iswith the ability to stay aloft for more true vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL)a runway-independent UAS withthan eight hours in horizontal flight, the tailsitter (meaning it takes off and improved ranges and greater endurance,V-BAT takes care of that. lands on its tail) unmanned aerialwhich is easier to use and move around vehicle (UAV).the battlefield, and systems that reduceIt is also easy to maneuver around a acoustic signatures to avoid enemybattlefield. It fits inside a transportable At first glance, it looks like an ingeniousdetection. case in the back of a pickup truck, scientist just attached wings and bladesproviding equipment independence.on a larger than life lipstick. But theMartin UAVs V-BAT, which comes in a technology behind it is mightytransportable box, checks all theseUsers also cite the extremely reduced impressive. The long-endurance V-BATboxes, with the bonus of being quiteacoustic signatures in cruise flighttakes off vertically from small, confinedsafe because it has no exposed due to the ducted propellers that areas and seamlessly switches torotor blades. minimize noise. horizontal flight. This is quite a feat considering previous attempts to achieve a clean transition from vertical to horizontal flight have previously derailed many ambitious vehicle projects; or they have ended up being multi-copter hybrids or sounding like a flying lawnmower, neither of which fit military reconnaissance missions.With the V-BAT, Plano-based Martin UAV has not only solved one of the hardest problems in transition flight, but delivered a UAS fit for the futurea true VTOL drone capable of taking off without a runway and flying for more than eight hours with a payload of more than eight pounds, top speed of just over 100 miles per hour (mph) and a range of 350 miles. Figure 1: V-BAT being readied for launch33'